I've already taken pages and pages of observation notes at Night School and we're only a few weeks into the program. The students in level one struggle with conjugating be verbs, in large part because Arabic has no equivalent of "to be." I am happy is just "ana sayeed." My name is Professor DeGenaro is just "esmee Professor DeGenaro." In level four, meanwhile, students listened to "Ironic" by Alanis Morissette and filled in missing lyrics on a handout, a simulation of one of the listening sections of the EET (Elementary English Test) for which they are preparing. Everybody involved has been very cool about letting me observe and I think I'm going to have a lot to write about. I'm waiting on IRB approval to interview the teachers and learn more about why they are volunteering. That should add a new dimension.
Speaking of writing, my English 204 students are beginning to hand in fieldwork reports based on their interviews of American college students. This is one of those sets of papers I look forward to reading. At some point during the Winter semester, AUB wants me to give a lecture on campus about this students project, which is a bit daunting but also a cool opportunity to share the research--and give me a specific deadline for writing about the project and the findings.
For three consecutive mornings, I've had to go the medical center (luckily just a few blocks from our apartment) for various tests for the Ministry of Labor (aka, the ministry"), which hopefully will grant me a work permit and residency visa if I pass all the exams. I still just have a tourist visa, which is fine since the Fulbright Commission, not AUB, pays me. But in order to stay more than a few months, I need the residency status. A pain, but what can you do? I can't help but think of the Ministry of Magic from Harry Potter when anyone refers to "the ministry." E.G., "the ministry wants to know if you have cholera."